If earth-balling is too costly, maybe “tree surgery” can be used to save eight century-old acacia trees in Naga city identified as “defective” among a series of 130 trees lining both sides of the road.
This option is being studied, said Eddie Llamedo, spokesman of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7.
“In tree surgery and treatment, cavities from branches and trunk will be scraped off and its immediate surrounding ground cemented when necessary,” he said.
Compared to earth balling which can cost up to P1 million per tree, tree surgery would only cost about P10,000, he said.
The DENR 7 will also conduct “ground verification” to check the complaint of a Cebu citizens group that a second heritage tree, not just one, was cut down near CEMEX in Naga City where road widening is underway.
“We have not yet received a copy of the letter of the Movement for a Livable Cebu. Nevertheless, we will send the Community Environment and Natural Resources (Cenro) Cebu City office to make ground verification of their claim that another tree was cut,” Llamedo told Cebu Daily News.
Since Monday and Tuesday are non-working holidays, Cenro officials will do this on Wednesday.
The inspection team to be led by Cenro Cebu City chief Felimon Embalzado, Jr. will check if the tree is among nine century-old acacia trees certified to be hazardous and defective in a May 2012 inventory by the DENR. One such tree was confirmed cut without a permit from the environment department last July 13.
DENR Regional Executive Director Isabelo Montejo earlier ordered a status quo and reassessment of trees, which include narra, neem and fruit-bearing species, that would be affected by expansion work of the the Naga – Carcar highway.
“Results of the reassessment conducted last August 4 – 10 will be available next week after Montejo reviews it,” Llamedo said.
An application to cut the trees from the Dept. of Public Works and Highways is pending with the office of the Environment Secretary in Manila.
The old trees along the South Cebu road were planted by the public works department in 1915 on orders of then Cebu governor Dionisio Jakosalem. /Jessa J. Agua, Correspondent